SHESHEGWANING – The Sheshegwaning Health Centre is requesting written support from its neighbour municipalities and First Nations, as well as from Indigenous Services Canada (the latter for funding) to hire a nurse practitioner in the community.
“We are asking for support of this program. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how isolated we are here on this (West) End of Manitoulin Island in terms of health care,” stated Nicole Bush, health director at the Sheshewaning Health Centre. It takes 45 minutes for our residents to travel to Gore Bay and it is an hour to get to the hospital in Mindemoya.”
“We have always had the idea in mind of exploring the hiring of a nurse practitioner and the pandemic (COVID-19) has just helped push this forward,” said Ms. Bush. She pointed out this concept is in addition to the Sheshegwaning First Nation, through chief and council, providing a $2,000 donation on behalf of the community (along with financial support from other Western Manitoulin municipalities, townships and First Nations) towards an additional doctor being recruited for the Gore Bay Medical Centre.
Ms. Bush explained, “we are in talks with Indigenous Services Canada as to what we would like the funds for,” noting that “the nurse practitioner would serve the Western Manitoulin community from the causeway bridge west.”
Ms. Bush pointed out, “the Ministry of Health said we would need a population base of 700 people for the project to be considered, and based on the last census that was taken, we met that criteria.”
“We have a strong case for this program and funding support,” stated Ms. Bush. “We are requesting verbal written support from both Robinson and Dawson Townships and Zhiibaahaasing First Nation.”
“We have also been talking to Dr. Chantelle Wilson (at the Gore Bay Medical Centre) about their support in hiring a nurse practitioner for our area and we have the office here for this person to work. She is supportive of this.”
“This is all still very preliminary, but we have put out letters and communicated with others about supporting this idea, which would be proactive,” said Ms. Bush. “The more support we have the more weight this concept will have.”